By D.B. Thengadi
Hindi rendering of the Third Way, a book written by Dattopant Thengadi, is going to be released by Shri K.S. Sudarshan, Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Much water has flown under the bridge since the book was first published. Consequently, people have started saying that Third Way is all right but under the present situation what is its immediate goal. We all are aware that Sangh Parivar has as its ultimate goal the paramvaibhav of Hindu rashtra. But obviously this is a distant goal. We want to know what is the immediate goal you are seeking.
The Hindu marg has as its immediate goal the Hindu renaissance. What is Hindu renaissance?
Yogi Aurobindo has said: ?The word carries the mind back to the turning-point of European culture to which it was first applied; that was not so much a reawakening as an overturn and reversal, a seizure of Christianised, Teutonised, feudalised Europe by the old Greco-Latin spirit and form with all the complex and momentous results which came from it. That is certainly not a type of renaissance that is at all possible in India.
?It was certainly that (i.e. spirituality) which saved India always at every critical moment of her destiny, and it has been the starting point too of her renaissance. Any other nation under the same pressure would have long ago perished, soul and body.? (Aurobindo in Renaissance in India).
Consumption is in terms of needs, not desires. Neither extremes of asceticism or affluence are acceptable, but rather the rule of sufficiency. The economic system is such that everyone is able to meet his needs or have sufficient necessities of life. In such a society, there are no poor or impoverished, none living a border existence and none abounding in luxury.
The focus is on both the inner state of the individual and the conditions external to him. Each needs to be purified. For, as reality is an organic whole, so is the individual; and religion, therefore, must be concerned with the total person, his inner self and external world.
All great movements of life in India have begun with a new spiritual thought and usually a new religious activity.
Hindus have been always aware that ?history without futurology would be fruitless, while futurology without history would be rootless?. Our heritage enables us to be cautious without being conservative, and dynamic without being adventurist.
Dr Radhakrishnan had observed: ?Hinduism has its period of growth and decline and we are today in the midst of Hindu renaissance. The word renaissance is not used in the sense of a mere revival of antiquity; the eternal principles are reborn to be applied to a new life in new ways. There is growth of a new spirit like the one which shattered the medieval order of the seventeenth century.?
In his Lessons from the Indian Renaissance, Shri Bishop has clarified these differences by using the terms ´dialectical´ and ´non-dialectical´. This is what Bishop says:
?The implications of dialectical metaphysics in the social realm are numerous. Social stratification or a society of classes with class interests and class struggle is an obvious and important one. For, society is seen as the arena in which irreconcilable interest groups clash with each other, making conflict inevitable. Another implication is the philosophy of individualism as a correlate of dialectical atomism. From that view society is made up of separate, independent indivi-duals, each pursuing his own interests, unheedful of others, and in whatever way each thinks will best allow him to satisfy them.
?Thus society becomes a loose aggregate of rights-demanding individuals with self-interest as the single and always tenuous bond. In a dialectically-based society individual ambition, drive, initiative, determination, goal setting and attaining, stirring and independence and exalted as personal-social virtues. Other persons exist as objects to be exploited or used. They are also seen as competitors and a threat to one´s own existence. The superior-inferior attitude permeates to all levels or classes of society. Individuals take satisfaction in finding someone they can view as lower than themselves, even though they are themselves, in turn, looked down upon as inferior by some-one else. There is inevitable strain or conflict in a dialectically-based society, as those who are considered inferior constantly resent their lower status and seek to change it, while those in power, considering themselves superior, strain to retain their self-exalted position through keeping the ´status quo´.
?Shared relationships typify a society with a non-dialectical orientation. This is because individuals do not sharply differentiate between themselves. In such a society, it becomes easier or natural to think and act in terms of the common as well as one´s own good. One reason is that the two are not seen as being contradictory or in inevitable conflict. A rampant individualism does not exist. Differences and diversity, yes; but unity in diversity is the major theme.
?Dissimilarities are recognised as external only and underneath is communality of needs and aspirations. It is obvious that fear and suspicion do not abound in such a society, but rather their opposite. Self-realisation is a goal, reached not at the expense of, but in conjunction with others. The gentle virtues of compassion and non-violence are extolled. Society is not stratified hierarchically, classes do not exist but only functional groups do, with no superior-inferior distinction made between them.
?A non-dialectical economics has co-operation, not competition as its central characteristic. Consumption is in terms of needs, not desires. Neither extremes of asceticism or affluence are acceptable, but rather the rule of sufficiency. The economic system is such that everyone is able to meet his needs or have sufficient necessities of life. In such a society, there are no poor or impoverished, none living a border existence and none abounding in luxury. The principle of equity rules. A stewardship rather than exploitative attitude towards Nature predominates. Man views himself as a careful caretaker of Nature´s bounties to which all have an equal right. Production is to meet human needs, not profits. A common good is accepted which may require at times a restricting of an individual´s or some individual´s good.
?As to religion, non-dialecticalism implies harmony, not the conflict of religions. Not one but many paths to Brahman is the accepted view as Ramakrishna so aptly pointed out. The dichotomies of true or false or right or wrong have no place in such a scheme. Acceptance of each other´s path leads to an absence of religious rivalry and conflict. In these ways, a correlation between the oneness of reality on a metaphysical level and a oneness of man in religion is maintained. Moreover, while religion is a quest for the absolute, it is in addition a search for the good here and now. The focus is on both the inner state of the individual and the conditions external to him. Each needs to be purified. For, as reality is an organic whole, so is the individual; and religion, therefore, must be concerned with the total person, his inner self and external world.?
From the above we see that there are significant differences between the two views of reality sketched, and the implications of each in the political, social, economic and religious realms. In dialectically-based societies, human relations tend to be restrictive in scope, inclusive of a number which is always less than the total, thus tending to confine rather than release, to contract rather than expand. What is considered real is the part and the actual is that which divides. Life is seen in terms of acquiring or having, not being. Since there is only the present, the urge is to get as much as possible to saturate the present with. As all are involved in a similar pursuit, it is not surprising that relations tend to be competitive and individuals set gazing in defiance at each other, from across moats dug in self-defence.
The non-dialectical, however, associates genuine reality more with being than having. The real is the whole; a lesser degree of reality is attributed to the part. To want to be one with the universe is a stronger, more elemental feeling than its opposite. To be realised is man´s essential, not accidental, self; and it is done in conjunction with other selves reaching towards the same level. A non-dialectical outlook recognises that utlimately reality cannot be seized, and, when we try to, it eludes us. The better course is to let it be and become one with it.
It is unfortunate that westernised intellectuals of India have failed to grasp the point made by a foreigner like Bishop.
(The writer is the founder-president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and a senior RSS leader.)